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Kitty Kelley News/Business. (2013) Author Kitty Kelley talks about her life. New. (Stereo)

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Washington 40, Kitty Kelley 38, Sinatra 28, Stanley 21, Frank Sinatra 21, Kennedy 14, Jackie 14, Nancy Reagan 13, Us 12, John F. Kennedy 11, Ms. Kelley 11, Mrs. Reagan 10, Ronald Reagan 9, Mrs. Kennedy 9, Martin Luther King 9, Frank Sinnott 8, Palm 7, Spokane 6, Springs 6, George Bush 5,
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  CSPAN    In Depth    Kitty Kelley  News/Business.  (2013) Author  
   Kitty Kelley talks about her life. New. (Stereo)  

    November 3, 2013
    12:00 - 3:01pm EST  

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political controversy, and some of the most memorable moments in american culture. the winner of the outstanding author award from the american society of journalists and authors, the author of nine nonfiction books including
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"jackie oh!," "nancy reagan" and her 2013 release, "let freedom ring: stanley terick's iconic images of the march on washington." >> host: author kitty kelley, how did you get into the unauthorized biography business? >> guest: with both feet. with both feet. i was a researcher for the editorial page the "washington post" years and years ago. when i left the post i thought it would be absolutely wonderful way to make a living. at that time i went to the editorial page conferences every day, and provided research for the writers. and i thought, this would be a great way to live the rest of your life. it would be like going to school every day. and then i realized that writing articles would be hard to make a living. so i was asked to do a book, my first book, the very first book,
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the one i thought would make me for ever was an investigative look at the beauty spots in america. there were only 12 at the time. only 12. this was back in 1978, and i thought this is fascinating. so i would go to every spa, state week and i would write a chapter about what they were really like inside. i thought, this is it. it's -- it sold 14 copies. my mother -- my mother bought 14 and that was it. but i remember when i went to one place, it was called the hot springs. i would arrive on sunday and stay for the whole week and put that in the chapter. i arrived, and the woman at the desk said sit down, please. we've had a problem here. we have some writer coming from
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washington, d.c. and we just had a death in the back to l.a. has just died. suggested down there and i will be with you in a moment. and i thought, someone died? the point of this book was that i was going to take part in every come everything they offered and i thought, no, i couldn't do them a bath. in the, that was the first book. and the next book was a biography. >> host: who is that on? >> guest: it was "jackie oh!" and the publisher would asked me if i would write a biography on jaclyn kenny for nasa's come and i said you're crazy. i have read everything written on the kennedys and on mrs. onassis. there's been thousands of books and i went to the library of congress at that time, remember when they had the card catalogs? i told him how many books have been written and december could be another book. and he said, you've got to write
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a book and get behind the myth. and so i did. i wrote "jackie oh!" and that's how i got into writing unauthorized biographies. and please, let's tell your viewers that unauthorized does not mean i'm true to. >> host: how do you get beyond a myth? what are your techniques? >> guest: well, you know, it was president kennedy who said, i think, that the biggest misconception is not really the lie, which is deliberate, contrived and unrealistic, but the myth, which is persuasive and wrong. so that i tried to do, i try and do as much research as i possibly can. i do start by writing the
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subject, because all my subjects have been alive. they are a tightknit society. they have in some way influenced our landscape, left an imprint in our culture. i write to them and i say i'm doing this book and i'd like very much to have an interview, but i want you to know as a matter of courtesy that i'm going to be trying to interview friends, neighbors, business associates, employees, former employees, and i'd like to be accurate and thorough, and to date, to date him and it's been over 30 years, no subject has given me an interview. so what i do, this is a chronology -- >> host: show it under the camera. >> guest: this is the chronology i did for over.
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i believe absolutely everything that has been written, so before even to an interview i've read all the books, articles, everything. and i put together that chronology which is a benign, factual -- that one is about 103 pages. so that when i come to interview you, i can say, well, you new opera in 1978 through such and such. and then i will open to 78 and ask you about some of the things there, and it helps because memories are fragile. >> host: you write in your book, the family, the real story of the bush dynasty, i believe the people we most admire, most influenced our country. so those are the lives of children to examine. >> guest: that's right. i do believe that, and if you believe that it's important to
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know their life story. how they achieved the power they have, how they have exercised their influence over it and what constructs that life story. >> host: after writing "jackie oh!," was there any lawsuits? did anyone pursue a lawsuit against you? >> guest: no. and what was so amazing in "jackie oh!," i interviewed one of president kennedy's best friend, senator george smathers from florida, and i worked very, very hard to get the interview. at first he said no, and i kept writing them and calling him and finally the secretary i think felt sorry for me, and he agreed to see me. and i went to his law office. the interview was set for 11:00, and i arrived at 10:45, and i waited until 1:45.
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when he walked out, he said, hello. i'm on my way to the hill. i'm so sorry i can't talk now. maybe one of these days. and i kept trying, and finally the secretary said, all right, do you want lunch with him or do you want the end of the day with him? and you know, that's -- it's a tough one to decide. finally, i said i will come in at the end of the day. i had an extraordinary interview with him, in that he talked very openly about president kennedy and his private life. and at one point in the interview, he was talking about john f. kennedy sexually, how he made love. he described him as a rooster sitting on top of the in. and before i could shut my mouth, i found myself saying,
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senator, how did you know that? i make him how do you know that without being in the room with him? and he said, well, of course i was in the room. he said, jack liked having us around doing it. okay. i got the interview. i went out. i wrote the book and i fully expected senator smathers to did i every word. because people do deny. he never did. instead when the "washington post" called him he said, yeah. he said, i said it. i think i was just run over by a dumb looking blonde. >> host: do you editorialize in your book's? >> guest: no, i don't editorialize. i think every biographer and editorialize is in what you choose to put in. and, you know, every saint has a
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past and every sinner has a future. i really try and be, i try and show all sides. this is why i love biography, because you were telling the history of the time and you're trying to give a nuanced, complex picture which is what most people are. >> host: few women in history you right at that the power to stop the world simply by getting married. for five years the widow of john f. kennedy had been the house object of people's admiration and overwhelming gifts.
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>> guest: i wrote that in 1978. we're sitting here in 2013, and i would stand by that. >> host: did you like jackie kennedy on nasa's after you are finished? >> guest: yes. i think it to go into these books, if not liking her subject, respecting your subject. and i came out of that book with real respect for this woman. she was strong and she was a great mother. and she -- i didn't realize until years and years later when i wrote this that "capturing camelot" book, which he really gone through with the john f. kennedy. i don't mean so much to infidelities as the years of sickness. i had no idea of how really sick john f. kennedy was.
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yes, i came out of "jackie oh!" with real respect for the woman. >> host: "nancy reagan: the unauthorized biography," being here you write the white house chief of staff would never admit it nor would the men around him, but the first lady control the presidency. it was nancy reagan not donald regan who ran things in ronald reagan's white house. it was she who dictated the president's schedule, supervise his speeches >> guest: i stand by that. she was busy, wasn't she? [laughter] she was a powerful first lady, powerful. petticoat president as they might call her. and i came away from that book
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having respect for her power. because she toned down ronald reagan. she helped push him with gorbachev. she was very good in that respect. yes, she was extraordinarily powerful people were terrorized of her. >> host: did you ever meet her? did she ever consoled -- and sent to an interview currently no. she never consented to an interview. as i said, none of the subjects have. but i did meet her very, very briefly when i went to the white house with a photographer friend of mine, and he was taking pictures of president reagan and mrs. reagan for the cover of "people" magazine. and they were having a hard time getting the president to relax. he was upset about what was going on in congress.
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and i still member when we went to the white house, we got out in the back and they were sharpshooters on the roof. because this was a few months after the assassination attempt. guns, policemen all over, and i'm holding the light for the photographer, and he continued to argue with the president. he said, mr. president, i want a picture of you like this, strong and reagan said, i don't like to fold my hands. i'm an actor and i like to put my hands in my pocket. and stanley tretick is taking pictures said, mr. president, we need a strong -- and you can't argue with him i'm like this thinking, please, stanley, just do what the man wants. we're going to be shot. and, finally, the president got so mad and he just went like this. and stanley got his picture. anyway, mrs. reagan came out and i met her very briefly.
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>> host: who is stanley tretick? >> guest: stanley tretick was one of president kennedy's favorite photographers. he worked for upi, and he covered john f. kennedy during his presidential campaign. he was a very good friend of mine, and after he left upi he went to work for look magazine and took -- his assignment was to cover the kennedys. the president, mrs. kennedy, the families, the relatives. he went to hyannis port, camp david, and he is probably best known for the iconic shot of young john playing under the desk. stanley was a good friend of mine, and when he died, he left in his archives. and that's why i've put together the photographs in "capturing camelot." >> host: your are a couple of those pictures. here's one with john john.
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when was the gain secret that john kerry get elected light traffic he just lied, apparently people would whisper in his ear and tell them secrets. and you know something, as you go through that book, there is not one i'm attractive picture taken, which has got to be part of the kennedy appeal. everybody is so beautiful. >> host: you the picture that mrs. kennedy said was her favorite of the two of them together in the back of a car. why was this her favorite track to she told stanley, this is a photograph taken in the white house limousine coming back from blair house to the white house, and the president is reaching over and taking a hair that had blown, putting it back into place. mrs. kennedy told stanley that it was the most intimate and affectionate photograph that they ever had.
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and it was spontaneous. john f. kennedy in public was very, very reserved. no public display of affection, rarely held his wife's hand can't even after the inaugural speech, he didn't kiss his wife as most presidents do. so this was an important picture to jackie kennedy. >> host: you have a picture in here of him putting on a late and eating. [laughter] >> guest: yes. he hated -- you know, this was a symbiotic relationship between photographer and the president, because they both cared about getting a good picture. and kennedy refused to be photographed eating or doing anything silly. he wouldn't put on a hat, and the only hat do was willingly where was a hard hat. and he told stanley that he felt
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the of labor, hard-working labor people could turn out for him, a rich man's son, he was proud to wear their hat. and the only other time he willingly put a hat on was a top hat at his own inauguration. >> host: stanley tretick died when? >> guest: stanley died in 1999. >> host: he also keyed archives from the 1963 august 1963 march on washington? >> guest: yes, but i did know i had them until i was curating the "capturing camelot" book. and then i found 200 photographs of the march on washington that had never been published before. so i went to the publisher and asked if we could please commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march on washington with this book. and the wonderful thing about both books, peter, is that all proceeds from the "capturing camelot" book go to the d.c.
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public libraries, and all proceeds from "let freedom ring" will go to marian wright edelman's children's defense fund. she wrote the foreword for the book, because she knew stanley, and she marched, and she knew martin luther king. so it was, it was wonderful to have her forward in this book. >> host: martin luther king and when wilkins come a driving down to the march. he was inside the car with them. >> guest: is just amazing, stanley is sort of like -- he's all over the place. there are some wonderful pictures in that book, two of them i think are outstanding. i had never seen a photograph of martin luther king smiling, or laughing. granted, martin luther king, jr. had very little to laugh about. his cause with serious, and he had a great deal of
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obstructionisdestructiontrying h under way. but there is that picture of him smiling. i mean, and you think of a time you have seen many pictures of him laughing? >> host: kitty kelley, with the production of these two books, are you out of the unauthorized out of the business? >> guest: well, i hope not, but they do take a long time. and i've tried to pick figures that truly have had an impact on our culture. and i don't know who there is out there, maybe if we get a first woman president? that would be a wonderful biography to do, ma but i choose them very carefully because they
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take four years of my life. they are a college education to the. >> host: are you working on one now? >> guest: well, i had hoped to do a book on the women senators, the 20 women in the united states senate, to see if ginger really made a difference. because this is the first time we've had so many. but i don't know quite how to do that. i wanted to answer the question, does jenna make a difference? yes, i think so far we see that they are more collegial. they certainly are more supportive of each other. they bind together. they have dinners. but i do know if it's only a matter of gender or because they are still a minority in an all male bastion. so kind of put the book aside for the time being.
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>> host: did you find similarities between the kennedy family and the bush family? >> guest: yes. i did find similarities. first of all, the obvious ones. the dedication to public service. however, the kennedy family was unique in that they had a master, a mastermind behind them, and that was ambassador joe kennedy. and there was a driving force because they were irish catholic, and we have never had an irish catholic president before. it sounds ridiculous to sit here in the year 2013 when this is the majority religion in the country, 51% i think the last poll showed our catholic. but at the time john f. kennedy
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ran, not even his church was behind him. and this is why the kennedys have always said the cardinals and bishops are republicans and the nuns are democrat. but joe kennedy was the 10th richest man in america at that time, and he still knew that no matter how much money he had, they wouldn't have that ultimate respectability until they broke through and put an irish catholic in office. and he was determined that one of his sons would become that. there wasn't that drive and the bush family. prescott bush was a moderate republican senator. his son, george herbert walker bush wanted to be like his father, and so he pursued politics. and then george w. bush.
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>> host: in the family, you write for those who study the fault line, the campaign of 1980 is instructive. because to dynastic sons chose to challenge their party's front runners and those two presumptive heirs base their candidacies solely on their sense of entitlement. >> guest: i am fascinated, not just by the study of power, but i am fascinated by the class system in this country. it isn't quite what it is in the united kingdom. it is more unspoken here. we don't night people. we don't place the earls here, the barringer, the dukes. no, but we do.
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and that kind of upper class, middle class, lower class permeates our society and it fascinates me. it's a form of self entitlement and it's a form of discrimination. and i like to see -- not that i like what i'm fascinated to see how it plays out. >> host: in the family you write that the legacy of prescott alcoholism became his destructive to the dynasty as denying its existence was to his immediate failure. prescott bush alcoholic? >> guest: and his son, jonathan bush, took umbrage when this book came out, as did come in, this came out at a very controversial time. >> host: 2005? >> guest: right. and there was -- is something to be denounced by the president of the united states, be denounced by the chairman of the
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republican national committee, by the press secretary in the white house, by tom delay. everyone was quite upset by this book, but i remember jonathan bush wrote a letter to the editor of "the new york times" book review, and my response is that alcoholism is not a disgrace. it's a disease. >> host: good afternoon and welcome to booktv's "in depth" program. this is where we spend three hours with one author talking af his or her body of work, and this month its author kitty kelley. she's the author of several books beginning in 1978 with "jackie oh!." his way, "his way: the unauthorized biography of frank sinatra," 87. "nancy reagan: the unauthorized biography" 1992. the royals came out in 1997.
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"the family: the real story of the bush dynasty," 2004. "oprah: a biography," 2010. and then her two most recent, "capturing camelot: stanley tretick's images of the kennedys" 2012 come and "let freedom ring: stanley terick's iconic images of the march on washington" just came out this year. if you like to purchase the in our conversation with ms. kelly, here are the phone numbers. (202) 585-3880 for those of you in east and central time zones. (202) 585-3881 if you live in the mountain/pacific time zones, and if you can't get through on the phone lines and you want to participate you can e-mail us at booktv@c-span.org, or you can post a comment on our twitter page at booktv is on twitter handle, and fun on our facebook page and facebook.com/booktv. you will see it right up there near the top where you can post a comment under ms. kelley's picture. what was the reaction coming kitty kelley that you got to
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"the family" and to "oprah"? >> guest: "the family" was allowed, rancorous, negative. they were furious. and at one point there was a reporter from rhode island to read the book and reviewed it and said there are things -- and he knew the bush is very, very well. he knew george herbert walker bush very well, and he wrote in his review that he was quite surprised by certain things in the book, that he had not known. and he said particularly -- decided george herbert walker bush his war record in 1944. bush had been a navy pilot. he bailed on his plane, and his recollection at the time differed from what he wrote in 1988. he co-authored a book called
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george bush, man of integrity. so this reporter called president bush, and president bush said, kitty kelley is a liar and she's a smear artist. i do remember those direct quotes. i didn't write that book. i never heard of the co-authored. it is all a lie. so the reporter naturally called my publisher and called me, and we sent him a copy of the book and the pages cited. and he called president bush back, and bush didn't take the call by his secretary said, well, he feels a little guilty that he didn't remember writing that book, but he still stands by what he said on kitty kelley. but when asked if he could point to one in accuracy in the book, anything, he didn't. but i'm telling you, the
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reaction to that book was tough. the same thing happened with the nancy reagan book. president reagan held a press conference, and afterwords i did research in the nixon library and the reagan library, and there had been this exchange of letters. richard nixon had written to ronald reagan saying i support you, this is a terrible book, it shouldn't have been written. this is the worst -- and reagan responded by saying, even the minister in our church denies ever, ever giving an interview to this woman. the minister in the church was the reverend don, and i got a copy of our taped interview and i said it to him and i said reverend, you might never know with this 45 minute interview in her office but i'm giving you the tape transcript, and perhaps he had circulated the bulletin
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to the bell avenue presbyterian church saying he never gave the interview. and i said, perhaps you could revise your comments, and at the very least, dell president and mrs. reagan. but, unfortunately, president reagan had gone into alzheimer's by the time and never really knew the truth. and maybe it's better he didn't. >> host: have you ever been sued or threatened? >> guest: oh, oh, i am a darling of the aba. i have been sued yet i've been sued by the best. i've never lost a lawsuit, ever, ever lost a lawsuit. but the biggest one was frank sinatra who sued before i had even written a word. and he kept the lawsuit going for an entire year, and he very smartly did not sue the publisher. he sued me personally. and i suppose the scariest thing
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was the day that sonata's lawyers called the publishing lawyers and said, we have a tape recording of the kitty kelley calling and saying that she was the authorized blogger for of frank, and that he wants her to write this book and she was like an interview. well, you know, it's one thing for someone to say that they have notes or something, but to say that they have a tape recording. and i began to question myself. i thought, this book has been so scary to write and so hard, i wonder if maybe i just sort of -- i wonder if i did it. and my husband said, you didn't do it. i said, i know i didn't, but maybe. anyway, everybody came to washington. they put the tape recorder on the coffee table and they played the tape, and it sounded like combination of me -- minnie
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mouse and boy george, and you should've seen the relief on my lawyers face, the publishers, everybody was -- that i was the only one who is upset. because that told me that somebody would go to those lengths to lie under oath. i didn't know what to do. i -- how do you protect yourself? and i finally decided that i would protect myself on every interview that i did it and i did about 800 interviews for the sonata book, and every single person received a thank you note. if i interviewed you, i would write you and say, dear mistress lynn, i want to thank you so much for giving me the interview on ranks a lot and should this come at that the elephant of what we talked about. i didn't have a chance during that two-hour interview to tell
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you how much i loved that blue tie you were wearing. stunning thai, and the contrast with a white shirt. antony, the man who really wears cufflinks but it was wonderful, thank you again for your time, sincerely. so that by the time for years past, and people do forget giving you an interview, i have that. i have those things to protect me. on the oprah book, i also have legions of lawyers that sit down and that these books before they're published, and on the oprah book, i had worked with the publisher lawyer before and they were sitting there and she said, kitty, this is really quite an interview you had with oprah winfrey's father. she said, she said, i know you have got your nose and your
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tapes, and she had been there on the table. and she turned to her partner and she said, she probably has pictures as well. i said kathy, i do have a picture. she said, you have a picture of yourself interviewing oprah winfrey's father? and i said, yes. and i brought it to her and she said, you absolutely have to put that in the book. and i said why? she said, because you have had this extraordinary interview. she said nobody is going to believe it unless you show them a picture. well, do you know that when the book came out, the very first thing i got knocked for in "the new york times" was that picture. >> host: why traffic i don't know. the reviewer said i think the reviewer was in awe of oprah, and said the author just wanted to show off so much, she put her
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picture in interviewing oprah's father. so you can't win. >> host: you wrote a recent piece for the american scholar, a current piece, unauthorized but not unto. you say that you only sold 300,000 copies of oprah. >> guest: right. i know, that's a great deal. now it's sold about 400,000. but they expected it to sell millions, because she had millions of adorers. and but it didn't sell millions. i mean, it was wonderful and it's not a complaint because it was number one on "the new york times" bestseller list, which for those of us who write books, that's the gold standard. but because oprah didn't endorse it, it wasn't an aha moment for oprah. i think that the book did less
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than it could have. >> host: in that piece in the american scholar you write, even after all these years i'm still not comfortable with the term unauthorized because it sounds so nefarious. almost as if it involves breaking and entering. admittedly by its very nature it's an invasion of a life. reveal the unseen, automate the unexpected. despite my discomfort with the word, i firmly believe that unauthorized biographies can be a public service in the industry. >> guest: yes, yes. i stand by that. the unauthorized part makes me uncomfortable because i know it makes other people uncomfortable. and they will say, is this book authorized? and i used to proudly say no,
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absolutely not. why would i want to write an unauthorized -- i've been an authorized biography backs and by that i mean, you have to give up editorial control. if i wrote about you and you didn't want this and this and this revealed, i have to abide by that. i don't think that is the best way to tell a life story. is not everybody who should have this kind of thoroughgoing unauthorized biography written, but for those of us who are influenced by these people, then i think it's absolutely legitimate. >> host: has anyone ever tried an unauthorized biography of you? >> guest: yes. [laughter] yes, they have. they have. the publisher of "jackie oh!" hired someone to write a book, and he was going to call it -- but liz smith said no one would
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believe that kitty kelly is a bimbo. she said you should call it -- [inaudible] house of representatives that because never been published? >> guest: no. back to your american scholar article. still i believe that the best way to tell a life story is from the outside looking in and so i choose to write with my nose pressed against the window rather than neil inside for spoon feeding. >> guest: i sound like a puppy dog, don't i? [laughter] but i do believe in this kind of book. because the media, especially in washington, d.c., are on bended me too much, too much. and they did it because they are afraid of losing access. nobody in the white house press corps would have ever written an
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unauthorized biography on either bush. no one would've ever written an unauthorized biography on nancy reagan. because they would've been closed up and that does happen. you have to keep, you know, i will interview a thousand people. there are probably 500 more who turned me down you have to just keep going. and i remember even contacting the white house ushers -- usher, and asking him what kind of orchid did mrs. reagan leave for barbara bush when she left the white house. the white house ushers said, i will not answer that question. this is a private -- and i --
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i'm thinking, i'm a taxpayer. we pay your salary. this was not a negative question. it was a fine detail, and you run up against that. and that's what you run up against when you write an authorized biography. then those kinds of people will talk to you, but they will write their own history. and you end up with revisionist history. and it isn't accurate. it is an truthful how did you get to washington? >> guest: -- >> host: how did you get to washington transit i came there, if i was little, i came there because i was fascinated by politics and i wanted to work on capitol hill. and i went to see my congressman at the time it was speaker foley. he was then congressman tom
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foley. >> host: you are from spokane? >> guest: i am from spokane. and tom said, kitty, you can't type or take shorthand. and you really had to be able to do that. but anyway, i ended up getting a six-week job with eugene mccarthy. and i was just supposed to handle foreign relations mail. and after six weeks the job was going to be over, but he kept me on. and i worked on the hill for about four years. and i left to become the researcher on the "washington post" editorial page. and i did that for a couple of years, and then, and then i started freelancing, which i'm still doing. >> host: kitty kelley is our guest, and mac, you are the first call.
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>> caller: hello. i was calling in -- hello, kitty kelley. it's nice to speak to you. i've enjoyed hearing you and about your writing. i was calling to find out what evidence did you have or collect on the book of the royal family, possibly being -- philip possibly bisexual and possibly a few good talk about princess margaret being anti-semitic. i want to know your ideas on both of those situations in the royal family. thank you for your time. >> guest: interesting. when i was doing the frank sinatra book i interviewed a woman named edie gets and she had a british bother. and we have become very, very good friends. that butler then went to work for princess margaret. and when princess margaret left the country on a trip, i was in london researching and herald
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called me and he said, kitty, come on over to the palace. and how shall you the princess' digs. so i went over to the palace and i spent a long time with the butler. and he told me that the night before he had gone to see -- i think it was schindler's list, and how in this market and asked him what he'd done and he said he went to -- she said i'm just so sick and tired of those movies about jews and world war ii. i just can't abide them anymore. she said i just have had enough of it. and he went on at great length to tell me about his talk with princess margaret.
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and it seemed to be a wonderful way to open the book. because i have also been to the anne frank museum in amsterdam, and i thought it was so touching that anne frank, in her last days, had kept on the bulletin board a picture of princess margaret and princess elizabeth. and then i got into the experience of the house of windsor during world war ii, so it was a wonderful way to get into it. >> host: david frum new york city e-mails into you. of course, one of the reasons you write books is to earn income. beyond that, what is your motivation and mission in terms of the kind of material you center on traffic the kind of material -- >> host: you center on. >> guest: is a really good
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question. yes, i have been quite fortunate in writing these books, but you can't just do them for money. because there are 80,000 books published every single year, and you don't know, you don't know if you're going to be one of the lucky ones to write a bestseller so you have to really believe in what you are doing. and i am drawn to a manufactured mythology, a public image, ma that's been laid upon me and i want to know, does it really, does it live up to that person, what i did really like? how did they get that kind of power? i am drawn hypocrisy. i -- icon as i told you, i am drawn to writing about the cache
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system in this country and how it affects people. so that's what i'm drawn to. >> host: what did your parents do for a living? >> guest: my parents? my father was probably the greatest influence on my life. he was a lawyer. my mother was -- and my sisters would laugh if i even said she was in housewife because we were very fortunate, and she was spared a lot of those housewife duties. but if you asked my sisters and my brother, i'm the oldest of seven, if you said, did katie always want to be a writer? they would say, no. no, she wanted to be an only child. [laughter] and, peter, i was raised catholic and i didn't know this until many years ago. my father lived to be 98 years old, and so my mother died
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several years before, and he remarried, and she died. so we never wanted daddy to be alone at christmas, and i was -- i would always go out and spend christmas with them. one time one of these books was being published, and it was a national controversy, and my father, who was a trial lawyer, understood this. anyway, i came home and he was waiting up for me and we were talking, and it was late at night and he said to me, you know, cat, your mother and i knew, we knew that there might be this problem. i said, daddy, what are you saying? i never rebelled. i didn't do drugs. i didn't -- he said, second grade, when you're in the second grade, he said, we were asked
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how many wanted to go in to the not very and become a bride of christ? and he said all the little girls held up their hands, he said you were the only one who didn't. i said, i don't remember this. he said, the sister looked at you and said, kitty, don't you want to serve jesus? and apparently i said, well, i don't know. and she said, don't you want a vocation? if you had a vocation, what would you want to do to serve the lord? and apparently i said, i think i'd like to be the bishop. well, my father said -- you just don't say that when i was in the second grade. so i was sent to the principal's office. the principal called my mother. my mother was furious because she had to cancel her golf game. she came to school. she picked me up and she said,
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how could you say something like that? and embarrassed us like this? all the other little girls want to be nuns. what's wrong with you? why would you say you want to be the bishop? and apparently i said, i love the clothes. i love the feather in his hat and he lives alone and he doesn't have any sisters and brother. [laughter] well, my father got home that night. my mother sent me to my room, and my father said, what did she do now? and my mother told him, and she said, go up and punisher. and daddy said, i can't. the kid has got a point. but he said there was always that any. i didn't see. i would've said i was the most dutiful daughter in the world. >> host: next call for bishop
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kitty kelley -- [laughter] scott from tucson, arizona. >> caller: hi. i just wanted to say i think what she does is great. you know, what gets me is for all the criticism of her controversy, she's never been successfully sued for libel, and her books i think are authoritative and i think they serve a great purpose but i just wanted to make that comment. thank you. >> host: have you read ms. kelley's books? >> caller: i read "his way" and read that nancy reagan book biography. i haven't read any of the other to my mother has read every one of them. she thought the bush book was very good about the bush dynasty. it was very insightful. so no, i want to read all of her book. i just haven't had the time. i just commend you for your work. i think you're doing a great job. >> guest: will you marry me, scott? >> host: you are married, aren't you? i was. my husband died 17 months ago.
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>> host: i'm very sorry. i was unaware of that. how long were you married? >> guest: 20 years. >> host: to? >> guest: his name with jonathan. he was a physician and i dedicated the "capturing camelot" bogeymen because it was the last one that he -- he was always my last read, and so the kind of work -- i mean, i a dork and. i adored my husband. he always had my back, and when you do books like this, you need that. >> host: kathy, georgia. you are on with kitty kelley on booktv on c-span2. >> caller: well, i have a question but i'm walking the journey with you and i'm so sorry you are experiencing your spouse is dead, and ms. kelly, just hang tough.
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it doesn't get much better but i am -- i have tears in my eyes now, but know that i will pray for you as you grieve and that god bless you for having the love that you had. it's always a gift. my question is, when you write the books, especially about political figures like reagan and bush, in full disclosure, i was -- [inaudible] my husband was actually, died in the line of duty as a secret service agent. >> guest: o. transport a young age and as a matter factor but how do you manage, and he made a fool concerted effort to keep your political bias in a corner somewhere so that you can be completely objective? >> host: before getting answer from kitty kelley, could you tell us the circumstances your husband died in? >> it was one of those out of the blue party at arrests after a three-mile jog.
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one of those that he had just completed his physical as a matter of fact, and just scored excellent on every parameter of the quarterly fitness test. as the cardiologist said, 17 days later, do you know the exact quote was -- deny many of us would love to have his heart and lungs? and they kindly everybody's mind because he was the one that you never saw it coming. but he survived for 33 months in today's in a coma actually and i cared for him at home. >> host: kathy, thank you very much. ms. kelley. >> guest: she just takes my breath away. her question was -- how do you parse your politics. it's such a good question. one reason i have written about
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nancy reagan, and the bushes, they were in the white house. they were the most powerful people and had the most impact. i'm sure that if it had been a democratic administration in either case i would have written about them. i don't think i let my politics get in the way. and i try not to but i do believe that a biographer -- they make, we make a selection on what we're going to put in the book. so in that sense making the selection is part of our judgment. >> host: how did you feel about the bush family and nancy reagan after you finish these books? >> guest: well, i was
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conflicted. there was part of me that was scared to death of nancy reagan, and another part of me that had real respect for what she was able to do behind the scenes. and i can tell you, she would never -- ronald reagan would never have been president without her. i spent a lot of time interviewing lynn. i spent a lot of time interviewing people who worked for mrs. reagan and ronald reagan. that was really a symbiotic relationship. jack kennedy would have been president with or without his wife. that was a different situation. that was driven by the father. the bushes, i really felt conflicted, because i found myself almost taken in by the grandmotherly image of barbara bush, and the statesmanlike
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position of george herbert walker bush, who i will still say on foreign policy he was pretty good, terrible on domestic policy. and so i, too, had to fight that public image. and i came out of it quite conflicted. >> host: nicole is in michigan city indiana and nicole, your are on booktv with kitty kelley. >> caller: thank you, ms. kelly. i'm really enjoying the program and i just admire you and i love your approach to writing unauthorized biographies. i'm an aspiring writer myself and i would like to know, how do you start your day, the whole process and starting her books. are you a morning ride, evening writer, what is your process?
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>> host: what kind of books are you writing? >> caller: well, it's a book on how to get married, because there's a lot of single women, how to get married. [laughter] >> guest: that would be a best seller. >> caller: that's what i'm hoping. and i look at successful women also and how they met their spouses. that i talk to women every day that are in marriages and say, no, how did you major husband. so i'm doing research and also drawing upon my own experience. so how do you start your writing day in which the process that you go through that you could share with me? >> host: think you, nicole. >> guest: nicole, don't forget that even martha stewart has gone on match.com. [laughter] that is such a good question and it's a question i always ask riders because i feel i don't manage my time well. and if i can ask the writer i really admire how they are as
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productive as they are, i might benefit from it, i try. this isn't ideal but this is what i try and do. i try and get up at a certain time every day. i have an office outside of the house. i have a full-time research assistant. i try and keep office hours. women researching, i'm -- when i am researching i read a great deal and i am interviewing a great deal. i do a lot of interviewing on the phone and i do a lot of interviewing in person. i keep notes. i keep tapes. i am very organized but i'm old school. ..
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but i try not to unless there's a justifiable foundation. i'm not in the business to humiliate someone simply to learn the truth. >> guest: that is true. when i come to interview you, i have to immediately make you
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like me, trust me and believe that what i am doing is good and deserves your time and attention. if i ask you a negative question, it means me and it demeans you. i want to know the how and why somebody. i want to know how they think, how they got to that again, what went into it. so i really do try not to ask a negative question. there's other ways to do it. and i'm not after it. i remember what a interview in a cabinet wife on nancy reagan. we had to go in her husband from the scene because she didn't want to be seen with me. i asked a question.
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and she said you probably want to know such and such and so was so and out poured all of this stuff but i really wasn't not being. it will come your way -- you get the positive and look at the negative. and you also have to be careful who you interview. or you have to put it in the book. i interviewed joe jones said so and so is this. try and put it in context because the person might have an ax to grind them because somebody have an ax to grind, you've got to tell the reader that. but at the same time, the information is important, you impart the information. >> host: what is your role in washington society? are you part of the crowd?
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[laughter] >> guest: my role in washington society, i'm an observer i guess you'd say. some would say there's nobody that can clear a room faster in washington in may. >> host: people see you in a go the other way? >> guest: in all, i used to laugh. my husband was a jewish prince and he would go into the room and the like as. and i would wok and it would be like that. so i have no role in washington society. >> host: marjorie pratt, west virginia. good afternoon. you are an tv c-span2. kitty kelley is our guest. >> caller: hi, thank you for taking my call. i just heard one of the newsrooms that when there's a certain group of people who basically decide who they wanted
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to be president and other power brokers behind who might get the support of the republican party for the democratic party because i heard that chris christie was being considered and he wasn't ready to run yet, but he shared that. he went into a room of the powers that decide. it was a room filled full of people and then he was hooked up to people across the country including henry kissinger. so have you done any research or who these people are, whether democratic or republican is sorted by the power brokers to decide whether people get to come before us to vote for not? just go yes. the most instruct the book on modest probably than nancy nancy reagan book because there was what reagan called his kitchen
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cabinet. these are very, very rich conservative republican that backed ronald reagan from the very, very beginning and helps them become governor and it can help you become president. but i don't think there is a group of 10 people and neither party that can control that. right now because of the recent supreme court decision, it's the money that controls it. who raises the most money? and whoever raises the most money and does the most advertising is usually the person who gets the nomination. >> host: if you can't get through the phone line, you can send kitty kelley each week. @booktv vizard putter handle. or facebook.com/booktv. from our twitter feed, rich
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neumeister asks, what would kitty kelley say is the difference in the political atmosphere is it's when she first came to washington? >> guest: rich, when i first came to washington, iraq and the united states senate. i worked for a liberal democrat from minnesota. keyword with virginia. people talked, went to each other's parties. the best thing in the world in minutes a, and that was the end of the 60s and throughout the 70s was dinner parties, where you would have a congressman and senator from a different party and great, great conversations. that does not happen anymore. that does not happen anymore.
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>> host: laura tweets, has your research influenced her politics after he written a biography? >> guest: well, laura, i should tell you all take him from first of all my father. the family i came from was very republican. and they all think that i've gone over to the dark side. but it hasn't so much influence my politics, my basic beliefs. but it has come to doing this research, showed me how politics works. sometimes in ways i don't really like. for instance, on the reagan book, i think u.s.a. might never
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think communicator, wonderful communicator. i was surprised and probably disappointed in with his stand on a never ever mention it, cnet outsider and is an epidemic sweeping the country. as a political decision on his part. so that's how i have to answer your question. i do understand much more about the political process and what influences these people, but it hasn't changed my politics. >> host: transfer come to you right in the nancy reagan book and the opera both pitcher resources for nancy reagan book in oprah's interviews. interviews she had done over the years. >> guest: yes, opera's interviews, wonderful.
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hope her is a very, very powerful figure, even to this day. that is why i chose her because she really has influenced us more maybe then the politicians or financial tycoons. nancy reagan wrote her own memoir and it was an unfortunate vote. it was later and it was negative. but i think she felt so i'm battled and so persecuted that she wanted to strike back. >> host: early in his administration you write in "the family" that the persons secrets, his and her father's remains sealed forever after placing his records as governor
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of texas in father's presidential library, bush signed an executive order november 1st 1st, 2001, the locks to releasable presidential documents. until then, national archives had controlled the fate of white house documents come which automatically became public after 12 years. >> host: >> guest: i find that to be one of the most outrageous things that george w. bush did. the iraq war is the other one. but that deprives history of what we need to know to make intelligent decisions. what he is trying to do is bury his record and his father's record, i think in particular, over the iran-contra business, which is still an affair that is yet to be fully investigated. i think what george w. bush did
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is a real assault on all of us. >> host: did the other surviving president support that action? >> guest: yes, they did. of course they did. of course they did. you will find that they talk about the first amendment and freedom of information and how it is important. but once you get to that level of power, power corrupts. yes, they did. they all supported it and they ought not to support it because we need that information. >> host: what is it like to put in the freedom of information request? what is that process like? >> guest: well, it's frustrating and crazy making. you put in a freedom of
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information request and you must follow the form because if you don't follow the form, they will use that as an excuse. and they will respond to you in 60 days. and do you know that i am still getting responses from the fbi, the department of justice, the department of treasury? 15 years later. the only time -- and i have used the information that i've gotten from an soi request. but one time, years ago, when they opened the first ladies exhibit in in the smithsonian, they had a big plexiglass display of jackie o. and nancy reagan, the covers of the book. i didn't know about this, but a
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reporter from "the associated press" called and said ms. kelley, i want to get your reaction. your books are displayed in the first lady's exhibit as showing how powerful these first ladies are that they can get looks like this written about them. she wrote an article and i sent it to my father. and my father was then 85. he said he was going to come back to washington to see it. he was very proud. i went down to the first lady's exhibit with my godchild and we took a picture of it. drag about it. my father travels all the way across the country. he goes to the exhibit. he comes back and tells my husband and myself. i said daddy you can't miss it, it's huge.
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it wasn't fair. so we all went back and it wasn't there. and my husband filed freedom of information to ask what happened. and god bless whoever is handling the freedom of information. you know, i said you'll never get a response. it will come when we are dead and gone. we got a response back. a copy of the letter that barbara bush, who was first lady wrote to roger kennedy, who was then the national director of the american museum, american history and said i want that display taken down of kitty kelley. roger kennedy took it down. and to this day, has never gone back to. that's the positive side of a freedom of information request.
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but they are frustrating to make because they will do anything not to respond. and sometimes you have to have a lawyer follow-up and threatened to sue. it's a long answer and i'm sorry. >> host: next call comes from gary in chicago. >> caller: hi, hello, ms. kelley. it's such a pleasure to talk to you. i read all of your books and think you're a wonderful writer. i hope you'll keep on writing and not be discouraged. my question is, when will you get the supreme court? guest code you want jeffrey toobin to do that book. or you want linda greenhouse to do that book. you want a real scholar to do it and to do it now, soon. [laughter] i don't think i am qualified to do it.
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but i will read it. >> host: somewhere in the deep recesses of my memory is an article about you going through people's trash. >> guest: i read that, too. i don't go through people's trash. but if there was a carbon copy, that shows how old-school i am, yes, i would read it. but now, i don't go out -- also, what i write has got to stand up to lawyers. and i'm very, very careful that because what i read is tough. it's unsparing in some parts. but it stands up legally. garbage would not stand up.
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we all remember nancy reagan had an affair with frank sinnott shirt. >> guest: if you read both books carefully,. mrs. reagan entertained frank sinnott showed in the family quarters. and would not let any telephone call comes through for the four hours he was there, including her husband. so the implication is that nancy reagan had an affair. i did not make that implication. i simply told you at the social secretary told me. but if he put that piece of information that the photograph that was taken in february of 81 in the nancy reagan but, she's
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dancing with frank sinnott chart. but she has her arm really almost in a hub and the president wants to cut men. mrs. reagan does not want to cut and. so you put that piece of information but that picture. >> host: and draw your own conclusions? >> guest: yeah, i wasn't in the room and neither of the principals told me that they slept with each other. and i don't say that they did. >> host: max tweets into you, kitty kelley, while interviewing for a book, have you ever had conflicting testimonies that you still don't know the answer to? >> guest: yes, that happens a lot, max. you realize that sometimes the truth that you now and you recall isn't the same true that your sister might have in your
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brother might have a different take. so you've got to put them all in. you've got to say, joe jones said this. he was in the room at the time and he recalled president bush saying this. jim baker recalls president bush saying that. so yes, there are conflicting times. i remember the sinnott trebek, ava gardner talks about a huge fight that she had with sinatra after all the furniture out in palm springs when she turned out wanda turner had a mayor. frank sinnott shirt had denied both of them. he got to put all that in there. >> host: were you fighting for your life and times of frank sinnott shirt? we threatened? castro not threatened, but i was
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very, very careful. i felt secured when i heard. we took all the liquor bottles and threw them off the table. and he said if anything happens to that, he said i'll be the first one blamed. i felt kind of secure then. i was really threatened when i when i wrote to book. i had an effect on men cited the publisher at this time i had a book party on publication, which was any real of 1991 press god, i didn't know this until later, but the publisher had hired by the cards for me. and i realized why. you know, it is one thing to
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write about a mob connected singer. it is quite another to write about a powerful politician and his wife. there are a lot of a lot of people invested in that. there are a lot of people that feel strongly about that. there's a lot of people that could lose jobs over that. so that was real power and that surprised me. i thought the death threats had come up with sinatra book. they didn't. they came up in the reagan book. in the middle of the night, people calling up and leaving messages on the tape recorder. now those, we are talking 199010 in the late 80s when i'm doing research there is no cholerae d., they just care dear.
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>> host: what do you think the motivation is that they nancy reagan social secretary or an ally to a friend of frank sinnott in the inner circle, what's the motivation to talk to you? is that important to know? >> guest: it is very important to note the motivation, very important. they could be a matter of simply telling the truth or setting the record straight, getting even. if you're interviewing a disgruntled employee, i think you have to wait the information you get. you have to then check it with someone else, which is why 213 on four sources are helpful. i do remember on the frank sinnott sherbrooke, there were a lot of people who really felt that he'd arrived. grown men were terrified. and one man i interviewed said
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to me, i hate reporters. i don't want to talk to you. there's nothing in it for me. i will not get anything out of this. he's a crazy person than i could he killed. and i said well, if you could just talk to me about the early days in hoboken. i am really interested in that. and he said you have to give your word of honor that this book will not come out until such and such a time. and it was like a year and a half after the interview. i said i can promise you that. these books take me so long to do. he said you give me your solemn word of honor. i said i do. so he gave me several hours in los angeles. i got back to washington and i got a call from him about two
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weeks later, screaming, cursing coming yelling come you like to make him a light today, i should never trusted you. you have just been sued by sinnott shirt. i said you're kidding me. i had no idea. he had sued me in santa monica, california. the newest is in los angeles, but i hadn't been served. i told him, he said this is it. this is yeah. he said he'll fold. i said no, i won't fold. i hope i'll be able to afford the lawsuit, but don't worry, i won't fold. and that's how i found out i was good by frank sinatra. so this source, he was later very, very humble. he knew sinatra in the early years and worked with him on the way.
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his information was helpful because he was there. it did he like sinatra in the end? no, he didn't. and he tried to put that forward in the book. yes, i got this information. they are not friends now. another person i interviewed, brad dexter for this frank sinatra book save frank sinnott chose life was not true with stranding. i have a very hard time convincing him to talk. he finally agreed to cut to the undergrad. and i met him in this country club in palm springs. and he came with his wife had i put my tape recorder down on the table and she put her tape recorder down the table. and at one point, she ran out of tape. so i gave her one is mine. and he went to their house later and she was completely out of
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tape. she said that's all right, that's all right. he was a very helpful source. frank sinnott -- sinatra junior. >> guest: cmi. we ran into the interview and stanley said to me, i'm going to take your picture with sinatra junior. i said i don't want my picture taken again. he says nobody is going to believe you have to think of you. i said of course they're going to believe me. i'll have my notes. i hope to recorder. in this interview was fascinating. for the first 45 minutes, it was a wonderful frank sinatra junior telling you what it's like to be the son of a famous singer and then he's starting to do imitations of the singer's friends and so forth.
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finally, he turned to me and he said he knows some name? i know a lot of people. he said you know what i mean? and i said organized crime? people. and he said i know i have been to jimmy hoffert. why start this instead. going to get the pulitzer prize. just for a minute, i kind of thought, what will i wear when i get the pulitzer prize? this is the biggest unsolved mystery of the 20th century and nobody's out. and just as i'm thinking about what i'm going to wear when i get the pulitzer prize for telling the world what happened according to frank sinatra junior, there's this clatter of cameras on the floor and stanley
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throws himself into the couch and looks at sinatra junior and says come on man, out with it, what happened? well, frank sinatra junior just froze. he got up from his chair. he ran into the bedroom. he sent the publishers that in the publisher says you have to leave. i said make him leave pointing to stand. i was ready to throw him under the bus. i said i still have some questions. please may i say? they had been bartered out. url. so we are walking through the hotel to get outside and stanley is trained to talk to me. i said don't speak to me again. i will never speak to you again as long as they live. i just flew into a high diva
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fit. i said that was so unprofessional. that was the worst. how could you do it? and screaming and yelling. he said he didn't know what happened to jimmy hopper. i said, since when are photographers convoy? is that your job? i went crazy. suicide, on, get in the car, i'll take you home. i said i'm not speaking to you. i went now, held account, went home. i didn't speak to him for days i was so mad. but then the book was published in the been a lot of controversy over this book. in the media was really waiting to find out who is going to say they didn't talk and frank sinatra junior said she says she interviewed me, never happened. well, the publisher was
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terrified and stanley called me and he said i've got a present for you if he'll talk to me again. i said well? is that i have a picture of you interviewing frank sinatra junior. and he said, the picture shows you. he said you look like an, but there's a tape recorder they are and you have your notebook. and that picture saved me. he's right. i looked at carper marks in the picture, but that was the proof. host or just in seattle, you've been very patient. url with kitty kelley. >> caller: hi, katie, how are you doing? >> guest: hide. >> caller: i was wondering about a couple of your books. >> host: just then, i am going to put you on hold. as you were told come you got to turn the volume down on your tv,
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otherwise there is a little bit of a delay. so just hang on for a few more minutes. we are going to try this call from ron in everett, washington. >> host: >> caller: good morning, good afternoon. i was one in which her educational background is, where you went to school. did you have any historical methodology type that says our writing classes, that everything? thank you. >> guest: well, you might be very pleased to know that i finish school and graduated and started graduate school at the university of washington. isn't he from everett, washington? which is for a scoop jackson and i think. i majored in english education. i wanted to be a schoolteacher and i wanted to go on to graduate school and get graduate
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degree and eventually teach in college. but i never finished graduate cool. >> host: why? >> guest: because i guess work out of the way. i came to washington for the six-week job and then i was going to go back to new york city. and i thought i'd work there. and i had hoped i'd work at the ford foundation and continue my graduate work. but i guess i just got so caught up. at the time i worked for senator maccarthy, it was before, during and after the vietnam war and his presidential campaign. it's really quite a turbulent time. in fact, i am convinced that métis and 68 is probably one of
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the most years we have her there too. i have respect for maccarthy when he set up for the president against the war in vietnam and that really -- all of us on this staff were working 24 hours. so i put aside those that maybe there's still redemption. maybe i still have time. >> host: tania davis who is the producer of this program often we'll talk with author's ahead of time and ask them what they're reading, but are their influence is, favorite authors. we want to show you that right now. this is booktv on c-span2 and we are talking to kitty kelley.
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♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ science and engineering escape
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to do because they'll see everett large on the paper. there'll be cause for engineers to help us go fishing on your robe over there is liquid for billions of years. we're going to dig through the soil to look for life. look at the nasa portfolio today. it's got biology, chemistry, physics, aerospace engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, all the stem fields. as technology, engineering and math in the nasa portfolio. nasa is a slide that society caps for innovations. >> host: kitty kelley, you write for you told us that you
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think philip roth is a genius. why is that? >> guest: i do think philip roth is a genius. first of all, his writing, his imagination, his mind had. the alchemy of the whole thing is some pain. i think american pastoral was a phenomenal book. i haven't read every single thing and i can hardly wait to finish what i have stacked up beside that that. it authors may. you know, if you came into the house, you would think i'm part of the collier brothers. i had "the new yorker" staff to, and newspapers. i sometimes think, do you think these books are just going to
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come into your bios knows this? but i have been piled up to read. i do think philip roth is a genius and i am so sorry that he said recently that he isn't going to write anymore. >> host: if you are currently not working on an unauthorized biography or another but, what is your daily life right now? >> guest: i clean my sock drawer. i read. i have worked all of my life and work to me, especially now, because my husband, i wish i had -- if they focus. it is a purpose in life and i have to believe in what i am writing. and i need to work. so to not be working makes me crazy, crazy.
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so i don't like to go too long without working. >> host: do you have children? >> guest: i don't have children. i don't have children. >> host: (202)585-3880 in eastern central times i would like to talk with kitty kelley. 585-3881. in the not in our pacific time zone. go ahead and file. if you can't get the wrong phone lines, send kitty kelley a comment via twitter@booktv is our twitter handle. you can send an e-mail, booktv@c-span.org. finally, make a comment on her face but page. we have an hour and 20 minutes left with our guest, kitty kelley. eric posts on her face but h., barbara walters said looks like kelley is all about finding dirt, not the truth. >> guest: i remember when she said that and that is an
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accurate quote. i don't agree with it at all. i think harper walters is coming in a very negative point of view. she was the subject of a very hostile biography and she feels that way. she said that when the oprah book came out and she refused to have nailed the view to discuss the book. i sent her a copy of the book. i told her i read what she wrote, what she said. i disagreed with the. i thought it was beneath her really as a journalist and that if she read the book, she would see what a complete and honest and good portrait abayas of oprah winfrey. >> host: do you think the "oprah" book, the "nancy reagan" book, the george bush book would have been different if you've got an interview with opera, mrs. reagan, some of the leading
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bush's? >> guest: well, i did give her some of the leading bush is and i did get people very close to each of those people. it would have been different in that i would have had to give up editorial control. they would've had to control. there was nowhere in the world they would have given an interview and giving me control. no way. and that's the difference between unauthorized biography and an unauthorized biography. i am not saying that unauthorized biography doesn't deserve its place on the bookshelf. it does. henry kissinger can write his memoirs, but i also want to read seymour hersh's take on henry kissinger as the man responsible for the bombing of cambodia. i can learn a lot through kissinger's memoirs, but i want the balance and i still believe
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that an unauthorized biography gives me a better chance. >> host: knowing what you know about jackie kennedy, john kennedy. if you had known that, would you vote for john kerry for president, again knowing what you know now? >> guest: knowing what i know now and knowing what i know now about richard nixon, yes, i would vote for john f. kennedy. not simply because my last name is kelley. that would not have been the reason. i would vote for john f. kennedy based on the speech he gave in june of 1963 when he talked about civil rights and he introduced civil rights legislation. i think that speech ennobled his presidency. and his presidency was flawed. the cuban missile crisis, the
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step up in vietnam. but what he said on civil rights to me was a shining moment. he taught about civil rights is a moral right, as something that's clear is the constitution and the soul of the scriptures. that night, after he gave that speech, his popularity went from 60% to 47% like that. ebbers was murdered that night. john f. kennedy went into the presidency as most presidents do, thinking foreign policy is going to be their biggest issue. with kennedy, it really wasn't. civil rights became an issue that he really hadn't seen and didn't know how to cope with. but i thought the speech he made
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in june of 63 was phenomenal and based on that, and knowing everything that we know, i would vote for john f. kennedy. >> host: and in your book, "let freedom ring," the president afraid he might well democrats, southern segregationist dragged its feet on proposing comprehensive civil rights legislation. those who wanted him to stand tall on the issue of race came up short. >> guest: that is true. they did. they felt very strongly. in fact, many of the big 10 leaders of the civil rights march in washington felt that the president's legislation didn't go far enough. now, kennedy made a stance on civil rights. limited though it might have been and it took brandon johnson
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and kennedy's assassination to get the voting rights act and the civil rights bill passed. kennedy did not want that march in washington. he thought martin luther king. this book, "let freedom ring," it's really the biography of one day in our life. august 28, 1963. and it shows you the tussle between president kennedy, who didn't want the march on washington, felt that the city was going to be covered in blood, chaos, violence. and martin luther king, who said the march will go on. and the two of them. there is negotiation after the negotiation. finally, in that picture you showed of president kennedy speaking to rfk. he said, well, if we can't stop it, will control the thing and
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they did. the march was decided it would be on wednesday so that people couldn't take weekends on either side and stay in washington too long. they only got a permit to be on federal grounds from 9:00 a.m. and they had to be out of the city. out of the city by 5:00. they nationalized the national guard, the fbi. the establishment in washington, including the owner of the "washington post" just felt there was going to be chaos throughout the city. restaurants closed, retail shops closed. the government closed. employees were told to stay home. and the only person really who caught it, who understood what was going to happen was the
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comedian, gregory. he said, i'm telling you, he said i know all the senators and congressmen in the place is going to be put on fire. but he said it's going to be a sunday picnic. and it was a sunday picnic. 250,000 people gathered in the nation's capitol. they came in by bus, by train, by charter planes. one guy rollerskate at from chicago. and it was a sunday pic name. the president had refused to attend and he would meet with the leaders before hand. he wouldn't speak at the lincoln memorial. but he did invite the leaders to come to the white house after the whole thing was over. president kennedy was absolutely ecstatic. he was so pleased by the march on washington. but with the kennedys were
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worried about, this is august of 63 and he's got to run for reelection in 1964. said he was very worried because cli live southern senators and he had to get their vote in the south to be reelected and that was going to be impossible with the civil rights association. >> host: here is a picture of martin luther king in the big ten of the civil rights meeting with the speaker of the house at the time, john mccormack and majority leader carl albert. we want to show you this picture. kitty kelley, did you have a chance to talk to stem a tragic? >> guest: i didn't talk to stanley much about this. but i talked to him about martin luther king. stanley continued to follow king. and there's a picture in this book. it's a wonderful photograph from an artistic stand point, taken
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in chicago. you see these steps in a housing complex. this was in 1965. martin luther king, by this time, was getting so much pressure from people who are losing faith in his blood and violence. stanley admired the same things in martin luther king that he admired and president kennedy. i think he saw two men with visions that were above and beyond the pedestrian. i think he saw a in martin luther king a real man. we were gifted to be given martin luther king at the time and i think stanley recognize that.
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>> host: >> guest: yes, i did. i used to visit coming in now, stanley and i were very, very good family. one time when i went to his house he had this marine corps locker that he used as a coffee table. i said stanley, what do you have been there? he looked at me and he said new pictures. that stopped me. i didn't say anything else. so i went to other things. fine, fine, the years go by. after stanley dies, the marine corps locker sent to the house because i inherited. >> host: dgi you were going to? >> guest: no, i did not know i was going to inherit it. it was delivered. and john, my husband, so i i think that what is that?
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i said it is stanleys marine corps locker. he said within their? i said new pictures. he said were? i said stanley told me that there were pictures. he said open it. i said no, i'm not going to open it. i don't want to remember stanley that way. john said i do. i said fine, you go ahead and open it. i went upstairs. john opened it and he didn't come upstairs for about an hour and a half. and when he came upstairs, he says you're not going to believe this. i said what? he said there aren't any pictures then mayor. he said there's a trove of letters from president kennedy and jackie and there are pictures and memos that stanley wrote to his editor and diary
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extracts that stanley had typed about covering the kennedys. i said you're kidding. and we went downstairs and we went through everything. but one thing i could never get an answer to, there is a yellow guest towel, the kind you would hang in a downstairs bathroom. maybe you're in l.a. or somebody. and it was yellow light inc. and blue cross stitched initials, jfk. and there is no notation in the trunk where it came from. now, there was one note from jackie that said stanley much loved jackie. i thought, would she have really sent a guess that stanley? and then i thought, do you think
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maybe stanley pinched that when he were to hyannis or that somehow it got into his camera bag? for one thing i never could answer. when i was doing the book, i thought it made me remember stanley ainu. i didn't know stanley during the 60s when he was so close to the kennedys. i was still in school. but one-time stanley drove me through washington d.c. and pouring it to a building that was deserted and nurses dirty, filthy towel in the window. stanley said that's where i came from. and i looked at this photographer who is so well-established and wore cashmere sweaters and drove a great car and lived in a
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townhouse. i said really, you came from that kind of poverty craxi said deanna, that towel says it all. well, when i found a towel, eight guest towel, and his strong, that was his rosebud and the defendant came. i can't answer. >> host: where is this picture i.d. taken the flap of the boat? >> guest: that was taken at the reagan white house and eastern. >> host: the photo shoot you were talking about? >> guest: now, this is a different photo shoot. this was when stanley went to the white house i think to photograph make detert. the photograph where i met and
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see was during the winter. and just to show you her power and her influence and how she knew everything going on, the white house photographer had sent me the picture holding the light shield in stanley is taking a photograph of president and mrs. reagan. and so i said, could i get it autographed? and they sent it back to the oval office. the mrs. reagan must have known who it was. and so the president signed it ronald reagan. i thought i was telling. >> host: here is the iconic image that stanley took of jfk
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and john junior plane in the desk. robert in cooperstown, new york, uri with kitty kelley. this is booktv on c-span2. >> caller: in 1950 weight avocet the time a correspondent in chicago in life magazine sent me to los angeles to do a piece on the teco when the gangster who had recently gotten out of the neil allen federal penitentiary. i had known niki and i got it wrong with him. i spent a week with him. one night when we went out to dinner, and we walked in a restaurant and sinatra was sitting at a table. as mickey walks by, so not sure reached out like a funding cut the wanting a pat on the head. mickey walked by and snubbed him. when we sat down at the table, i asked mickey, why did you snob
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sinatra? he said he is not a man, he's not a man. what do you mean he is not man? i'm going to use an expletive deleted here. and mickey said well, johnny stomp and not go has been expletive deleted. sinatra said to me, i want you to get into stuff. i said me quite she was your wife. you are the man, you do it. he said he never did. i didn't know who stomp anonymous until a year or two later when lana turner's daughter stabbed him. >> guest: how i wish i had maggio when i was doing this sinatra book. i believe every word of that. based on information and belief in all of the research i have done, true story. >> host: hotted frank sinatra
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get involved in politics and why did he go from jfk to ronald reagan? >> guest: well, his mother, his mother who is euphemistically called the midwife in hoboken. she did abortions and she also delivered babies. but she terminated a lot of pregnancies. that's very controversial at that time. it was a very catholic 12 square block area. she was a big democrat and she was part of the democratic machine. so he grew up as a democrat. and he was very much for harry truman. he claimed to have remained a democrat all of his life. both frank sinatra, what drove him was trying to be part of the most respectable petticoat he
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coded coat in our society. that would be the president of the united states. he despised ronald reagan back in the 60s, despised and. he would sing, the lady is a and instead is saying it is cold and it's. that's why the lady is a. but he also said he'd leave california if reagan never became governor. he was governor for two terms. and then, when reagan became president, sinatra came around. before that, he has supported hubert humphrey. he supported hubert humphrey in the midst of the vietnam war, when humphrey would not go against lbj. sinatra is with him.
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but then he went with nixon. he raised a vast amount of money for those men, a vast amount of money. >> host: to his relationship with jfk suffer after jfk got it? >> guest: it did. it did because rfk went after organized crime and sinatra was it just connected to organized crime. he did business with organized crime. he was part owner of a gambling place in lake tahoe with sam gioconda who is the mom washed from chicago. years later i interviewed judith campbell asner, who was what they called a party girl.
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she was then having an affair with sinatra. sinatra introduced her to jfk. she many years later showed me documentation and had taken messages from jfk to sam g. but the relationship changed. sinatra felt that his house and he completely rejected. he had a plaque on one of the doors there that said this is the room that jfk flopped and in the date was engraved. ..
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>> and peter lawford told me that he took a sledgehammer to the heliport landing and busted up the rooms. just went insane. and that was the end of the relationship. up to that point, they had been very, very close. sinatra had campaigned for
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kennedy, raised a lot of money, created the campaign song, he'd flown to hyannis port. very close to them. but after that, no. >> host: a couple of conspiracy theories, and this is from lawrence, an e-mail from lawrence. did you come across any evidence that george bush was in the plaza when jfk was killed? >> no, i did not come across evidence that he was there, but there is a letter in the fbi files averring that. but i did not come across any evidence. it is interesting, the assassination has raised so many conspiracy theories that most people, polls show, believe that
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we don't know the entire story. >> host: what do you believe? >> guest: i believe that it was one lone gunman. but i'm a minority. and i suppose i believe that because i haven't seen any solid evidence to the contrary. >> host: kennedy family, marilyn monroe, were they involved in her murder? have you investigated that issue? >> guest: i didn't really get into that. not that i avoided it, but again , there was no solid evidence. yes, there is a lot of evidence that marilyn monroe had an intimate relationship with both president kennedy and robert kennedy.
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but i interviewed peter lawford for several hours, and -- not that that would have been the beall and end all of that -- be all and end all of that question, but with i just have never seen any evidence. it would be embarrassing to the family, and this is probably how the conspiracy started, because marilyn monroe's death, if that brought up the involvement at that time with president kennedy, that would have been the end of the election. i mean, think about it. we're talking back in 1961, '2 and '3. we didn't really know anything about president kennedy's extramarital affairs for many years later. >> host: kitty kelley is our guest this month. rita in wilmington, delaware,
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please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: hi, thank you. first of all, if i had won the lottery, i would give it to you just to be sitting in that care right now. next to this remarkable human being. cat, my admiration for you is -- i had one comment i was going to make, and now i have five or to six pages of notes i've been taking. you have courage that -- [inaudible] once said that mass media would be the saving grace of the public because it would expose the people who were -- sexual abuse of children, etc. but it would eventually turn on itself and become so big that it would be what it's become. i don't know if you're familiar
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with matt, the aibi who writes for "rolling stone" mag. he said i can't understand why mass media, all these tv shows and everything can can't find all these facts that little "rolling stone" magazine can find. and it reminds -- and, in fact, taibi, as in cat, the guy that reminds me of you because -- i'm trying to get all this out -- you fascinate me. first of all, i thought you would be all wrinkled and older, because, you know, you've written so many books, and i look at this woman who is, you are absolutely beautiful, first of all. and i think i love barbara walters, but there might be a little bit of jealousy there. i could say a thousand things to you right now. >> host: all right, rita, in
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wilmington, delaware, i think we got the point. >> guest: i want to marry her. [laughter] she did mention a fabulous journalist, and, rita, i have to tell you when the nancy reagan book came out, it was extraordinarily controversial. and one reason it was, was a story that was placed on the front page of "the new york times" about the book. it was written by maureen dowd, and it was a straight piece. it wasn't a column, it was we got an advance copy of in this book, and this is what it says. well, the fact that "the new york times" had beatified kitty kelley by putting this book on the front page caused their journalists to go crazy. by that i mean they a really got upset. and there was a big staff meeting, and there was a big
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hullabaloo. and later harrison call lis bury -- sallies bury who was an icon at "the new york times," foreign correspondent, he said that the outrage is that it took kitty kitty kelley to put these things in print instead of the media that covered the reagan administration. and i always thought it is better to be an outsider looking in you're looking to write the truth. now, that's all find and well and sounds very righteous, you also pay a price. >> host: this is from joe in los angeles. i wanted to know which biographers or biographies you admire. also i believe in your biography on sinatra you were the first to
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find that frank sinatra's mother was arrested for practicing abortions. >> guest: yes, that is true about the sinatra, about mrs. sinatra. but that arrest record budget as interest -- wasn't as interesting to me as finding out that frank sinatra had been arrested on a morals charge, and he'd been put in jail for three days. the only reason i really cared about that is he testified under oath to congress that he had never been arrested. and when i was researching the book, i did not know what a morals charge was. this is in 1939. and i have to tell you, when you're writing about someone and you're trying to find sources, the hardest people to find are women with because they change their names. and they go from smith to whatever.
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so i wanted to find this woman who had leveled the morals charge and had put frank sinatra into jail. and it was one of the hardest things i ever did. first, i had to locate her, i had to get the arrest record, i had to verify that he had, indeed, been in jail. and when i finally found her, i found her in lodi, new jersey, live anything a tiny little place -- living in a tiny little place. i didn't call her because i thought she'd hang up on me. i thought if i wrote her -- i didn't know what to do. and i asked a friend of mine, and he said just show up. i said, show up? he said, show up. knock on the door. i said, i can't do that. but i did do it. and i was terrified.
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and she let me in, and i had the records, and i laid them all out on the table for her, and you know they always say leave your tough questions til the end? well, i don't do that because i'm afraid i might get with kicked out, so i start with the -- and i laid it all out. i said i just wanted to ask you about this. and she told me that she had that frank sinatra thrown in jail because he had promised to marry her. she was pregnant, and he backed out of his promise. and her uncles were policemen, they arrested him. dolly sinatra begged her to get her son out of jail. and this woman taught me, she taught me so much because i asked her why she had never told in this story before.
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millions of books had been written and magazine articles, and this had never come out. and she looked at me and said nobody ever asked. it was such a good lesson to me. and i have to keep learning it every single time i write. >> host: first part of joe's question, wanted to know which biographers or biographies you admire. >> guest: i admire judith thurman who has written about isaac benson, and she wrote a book on colette. i love david mccullough's book on john adams. he writes a happy ever after kind of book. i loved his book on truman. justin kaplan.
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i should have a list long, long, long. but i'll think about them and go back to that question. >> host: kitty kelley is the author of several books, jackie kennedy, elizabeth taylor, his way, about frank sinatra, then nancy reagan, the unauthorized biography came out in '92. the royals came out in '97, the real story of the bush dynasty, 2004. then oprah, a biography, 2010. her most recent are two photo books with her writing capturing camelot, stanley's images of the kennedys 2012, and then this year, let freedom ring, iconic images of the march on washington. what's been your biggest seller? >> host: well, it depends. "the royals" gives me the right
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to tell you that i've been published in 36 foreign languages. so i can act laity da about that. frank sinatra sold a million copies in hardback. so it depends. and five of them have been number one on the new york times bestseller list. so i don't know which has been the most successful. i'd like to, i'd like to take the most recent one, "let freedom ring." i'd like to do a children's book. i have just joined the board of reading is fundamental, and they do such good work with the underserved children many our country -- in our country. i would like to write a children's book based on that. i don't know if i can, but i might try.
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>> host: vicki, st. augustine, florida. please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: yes, good afternoon. peter, i'd like to compliment you on your level of language and your dignity no matter what guest you have, but particularly today. what motivated my phone call is ms. kelley's comment about her intolerance for hypocrisy. i share that as well, and i think perhaps she owes that gift to her father who did not encourage her to pretend that she wanted to be a nun instead of -- [laughter] my parents did the same thing with me. they always called a spade a spade. and what i'm interested in is this, another one of your great guests on "in depth" was david maraniss who wrote the story of barack obama: the story. up to and including his entrance into college. i'd like to see ms. kelley pursue that story after mr. obama leaves office. i'd like to see her pursue the story of his life and his wife's
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life, particularly i'm curious about how this man who was not that prominent in american politics was skyrocketed to the presidency, and even though many of his policies are not popular, he is still beloved by so many of our people. so i'd like to see her do a chronicle of his life after he leaves the presidency explaining his success in politics and perhaps how the hypocrisy in both his family and his father's family and his mother's family may have influenced him. so i'd love to -- >> host: thank you, vicki. kitty kelley? >> guest: well, i hope some publisher was listening to her. [laughter] it certainly would be a worthy, a worthy project. a worthy project.
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>> host: just to note, that caller mentioned david mare ran mis-- mare ran mis. booktv covered his first volume of "barack obama: the story," and, in fact, we traveled to kenya with him on that trip. he is currently working on the second volume, it'll probably be a while before it comes out, but he is working on that second -- >> guest: well, there you go. now -- >> host: barry tweets in, how has the obama administration acted regarding foia requests? do you have any experience there? >> guest: i know only what aye read. -- what i've read. i haven't had any experience of filing with the this administration. i do know that the president has said on more than one occasion that he wanted to have a more transparent administration. however, i've also realize that they've sort of finish read that
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they've sort of gotten in the way of those foia requests. it's very hard. i mean, i know when i was doing the bush book i filed freedom of information to find out about george bush's -- george herbert walker bush's uncle. he had been dead for many, many years. now, he was the family's black sheep, there is no question about that. and so it was not in the bushs, it wasn't to their advantage to let this information out. i kept filing and filing and filing for it. he had died, he'd been dead for years, and they would not release it. >> host: so you've never gotten it? >> guest: well, i finally found state department employees who were able to fill in the fact
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that he died sad, blind, alcoholic and that george bush, who was head of the cia at the time, had the body flown back to connecticut. and i went to the family grave site, and you can learn a lot sometimes by going to a cemetery. it's interesting. prescott bush has this great headstone, and then there's a very humble one for his wife and others. and way down if the corner there's a very small headstone for james bush. but i never got the freedom of information. it's still pending. >> host: in "the family" you write: bearing the brunt of presidential wrath has its consequences. after almost 30 years as a contributing editor for the
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washingtonian magazine, i was suddenly removed from the masthead. when i asked why, the editor said he disapproved of my book, its timing and its treatment of the bushs. he decried my writing about the first family's private lives. this from a pan who oversees -- a man who oversees the magazine's personals for escort services, massages, exotic dancers and toys. phillip merrill has had a long relationship with george h.w. bush, george w. bush and vice president dick chainny. merrill currently serves as the president of the xm bank, an appointment he received from george w. bush. >> guest: i was contributing editor to the washington taupe yang magazine -- washingtonian magazine for over 30 years, and i did notice my name off the masthead. i was never called. i never got a letter. so i called jack, and i asked
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why. and he said it was because of the bush book and because of the intimate details of their private lives. i said that's what a biography is. you never had any problem with jackie o., you featured it in the magazine. you never had any problem with nancy reagan, with frank sinatra, the british royal family. why this one? click. and so i do think it was because of the connection with the bushs. phil merrill subsequently took his own life, and his daughter is now running the magazine. but it is true, you do pay a price.
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you cannot expect to write a book like "the family" and then be invited to a white house state dinner. [laughter] you'll pay your price for standing up. >> host: greg from hawaii asks, is kitty kelley your real name? it's very catchy. [laughter] >> guest: it is. but as i said earlier, i was with raised catholic, and at the time i was born you had to have a say about's name -- a saint's name. and when i was born my father said her name is kitty kelley, and the nun apparently said, mr. kelley, she needs a saint's name. and daddy said, she's pretty kitty kelley. and then said there is no saint pretty. [laughter] my father said, all right, legally she will be known as katherine.
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and so the first thing i learned when i went to catholic school was about saint katherine. and i learned -- to this day i can tell you st. katherine, st. katherine, please come to my aid, pray that i may never die an old maid. a rich one, st. katherine, a poor one, st. katherine, but anyone better than no one, st. katherine. >> she was the patron saint of spinsters, old maids and -- >> host: is that a true prayer that you just told? >> guest: you don't think i made this up on the spot? [laughter] yes, it is a true prayer. and i learned it and had to learn it so often that i can still remember it. >> host: two questions for kit ty kelly -- kitty kelley, this was from robin heidi in palm springs. have you uncovered things about subjects that were too violative to reveal in print?
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>> guest: yes. i haven't, i haven't uncovered them in the terms of absolutely documenting them. but i have been given information, for instance, when i was writing the sinatra book, i got a call from hogi carmichael jr., and he said to me you might not know my name. i said, well, i know hogi carmichael. he said that was my father. and he said my brother had worked with sinatra before, and he has a terrible temper. i said, yeah. by this time you know about sinatra's temper. you just are sort of fascinated by which direction it's going to take you. and he said you ought to call my brother in such and such a place, here's his telephone
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number, and ask him. and i said, well, what would i be asking him? and he said, well, he said i think my brother was there when sinatra threw someone off a plane. and i said -- by this time i was kind of, oh, so he threw him off a plane. and i said what'd he do, just leave him on the tarmac? he said, no, he threw him off the plane. i said do you mean in flight? [laughter] and he said, yes. i said, he threw him off the plane in flight? and he said that it was a private plane flying from las vegas to palm springs. i said you sure about -- he said call my brother, just call my brother. well, i hung up the phone, and i
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thought, well, this is insanity. i mean, that's murder. and then i thought, well, call the brother. you don't have to ask about that, you can just -- so i called the brother, and it's always helpful when you're doing something like this and you can call someone and say so and so told me to call instead of just calling cold. so at least i could say your brother hogie said to call. and he said, oh, how's he doing? i said, fine, i think. and i said i'm doing this book on frank sinatra. and he said good luck with that. and i said, i understand that you worked for sinatra for a while and there there was a pau. he said, yeah.
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i said, what was it like? it was okay. and that one word answers to everything until finally i said hogie said that you were there one time when frank sinatra threw someone off a plane over lake merced going from las vegas to palm springs. and there was a pause, and he said hogie should never have told you that. now, was that a true piece of information, was i set up? i went back, i filed a foia with the faa to see the if there had been any deaths. i looked in the newspapers, i tried everything i could to
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document that, and i couldn't. so, of course, i didn't use it. and you don't know. you could be set up. very easily by someone. >> host: well, rob and heidi have a follow-up question. >> guest: oh, dear. [laughter] >> host: how do you feel about government secrets and what edward snowden has done? >> guest: um, i believe in whistleblowers. i mean, i do think that whistleblowers perform a public service, especially when there's corruption in government or pharmaceuticals or harming people and they step forward. i'm mixed on snowden. i am mixed. i do believe that there's certain secrets that you have to keep for the security of our
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country, and perhaps i've changed a little bit on that since 9/11. but i don't know quite what to make on the snowden thing. parts of it, parts of his disclosures i think have gotten us into a national debate and conversation that's constructive and good. and i don't know about the rest. i'm sorry to -- i'm not copping out, i just simply haven't come down hard on one side or the other. >> host: about 30 minutes left in our interview with kitty kelley, this month's "in depth" guest on booktv. phil in north hollywood, california, good afternoon. >> caller: hi there, peter. really love your show. i always get some new insight from writers that i've known or just discovered. ms. kelley, just curious to know
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with all the wonderful people you've met and some of the unwonderful people that you've met as far as celebrities or historical or political people, was there anyone that you kind of had a preconception or a different perspective on that maybe changed that you were rather impressed with? and also just a second little follow-up question, a fun one. if you were going back into a time machine, who would you love just to sit down and have an interview with? but i'll take my answer over the phone. thank you so much. >> guest: i think the most impressive person i met was nelson mandela. i was in london researching the british royal family, and i had just come from watching the queen do this in a carriage, and i walked into the athen ian
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hotel, and everybody was so excited, all the men came over to ask, well, what was she wearing, and i looked over at the elevator, and i said, um, who is that at the elevator? and he was standing with two men. and the concierge said, oh, someone from south africa, i think. but anyway, what was the queen -- and i said is that nelson mandela? yeah, that's the -- yeah, that's the name. i said, he's here in the hotel? and they were getting very impatient. they wanted to know what the queen was wearing, the broach and the this and that. and finally donald, the concierge said, if you will tell us everything, i'll let you meet him. i said, okay. so i gave them all the details
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of the queen's apricot suit and her hat and which way the feather went and so forth. and then i got a message the next day that mr. mandela would like to meet me. oh, please. at such and such a time in his hotel room. and i went down to the front desk and said you just made this up, right? and they all said, no, i said that there was this writer from washington, d.c., and he said he'd really like to meet you. so they took me up to nelson mandela's room, and he wanted to talk to me about american publishers and why they were demanding that he put more of his personal life in his book and why, why would he do -- and we talked for about 20 minutes.
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and i was so moved to meet him. i asked him if he would sign, if he'd give me his autograph. i mean, i feel like an idiot, and he was so gentle and kind and said i don't know why you'd want it, but, yes, can i say to kitty? i almost started crying. i said, uh-huh, you can. we talked a little bit more about publishing, and that was it. so this was somebody who more than lived up to what i thought. and i forget what was the rest of it? >> host: his second question was about being in a time machine, who would you like to go back and interview?
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>> guest: probably some bishop. [laughter] cardinal richelieu. maybe st. katherine. will you go. there you go. >> host: are you still a practicing catholic, and what do you think of the new pope? >> guest: no, i'm not a practicing catholic. i can only say that because my father has gone to the angels. but i have -- and this might be where the hypocrisy, the anger at hypocrisy comes from. i can't stand what happened with the priests and the cover-up and the lives that have been damaged because of it. the -- this pope sounds great. this pope, he doesn't want the popemobile, he doesn't want the
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red gucci shoes. he seems to want to sidestep the divisive issues and concentrate on the things that might bring people together. and just from what i've read and seen, this pope might be the real deal. who knows? i am not practicing, no. >> host: dana e-mails in to you, in the ariana stephanopoulos bio of maria callous, she claims onassis was at the white house the evening jackie returned from dallas in '63. do you know if this is true? >> guest: yes. i think -- i forget now, but, yes, they did know each other. it was on nasties' yacht in --
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onassis' yacht in october of '63 where jackie went with franklin roosevelt jr. and his wife and lee -- [inaudible] and her husband. and i think that onassis was at the white house, yes. he, in fact, the picture you showed, the iconic picture of. john john under the desk was taken when jackie left washington to go to greece, and the president called stanley can and said the coast is clear, you better get over here now, jackie's gone. because jackie was ferocious in protecting the kids and did not want caroline and john used for political purposes. and she had made it very clear to pierre salinger, the press
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secretary, and to the president that the children couldn't be used. but stanley had been communicating with the president for 15 months and wanted to do a story called the president and his son. so as soon as jackie left to go on the yacht, the president called, and stanley spent four days and four nights photographing the president and his kids. and stanley showed him all the pictures afterwards, and kennedy was ecstatic. when jackie got home from greece, he showed her the pictures and said i know you're going to kill me, but -- and she said, according to stanley's notes, well, jack, this is an election year, i guess you can use the kids, and i'd even pose in the bathtub more you, whatever you need to get reelected. "look" magazine made that their cover story, and there was a six week lead time in those days.
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and that issue was on the flight to dallas. and mrs. kennedy told stanley later that she was so glad that the president had violated everything he promised and that stanley had taken those pictures, because she would never have had them. and she said to him these will be my most precious, precious momentos. so stanley then, he became very close to mrs. kennedy, and he loved john. and mrs. kennedy invited him to john's little birthday party a year later. and stanley took him a helicopter because john john loved planes. and mrs. kennedy took photographs of stanley on the
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floor with young john trying to put the helicopter together. and she wrote a note to him saying now admit it, you have never seen such action-packed photographs as the ones i took of you. so onassis was known to the family. >> host: and the reason jackie was on the yacht in october? >> guest: was because the kennedys' third child, patrick, had died. he was born, and he lived about 36 hours. and president kennedy was filled with such sadness. it was the first time he ever cried in public, and lee had told aristotle onassis, and he said i'll make my yacht available. have the first lady come. i don't even need to be there.
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and jackie was so grateful, she said, no, please, have him stay, it will be wonderful. so she went to onassis' yacht, and that's where she recuperated. >> host: and dallas was one of the first trips she took, or the first trip she took after she got back. >> guest: that's right. >> host: there is a picture here in the kennedy book, the "capturing camelot" book of president kennedy and a woman named evelyn lincoln. and you write, kitty kelley: the president with his secretary, evelyn lincoln, who had worked for him since 1963. kennedy told ted sorenson whatever i do or say, mrs. lincoln -- in ten years he never called her evelyn -- will be sweet and up surprised. if i said, mrs. lincoln, i have cut off jackie's head, would you please send a box be, she would say, that's wonderful, mr. president, i'll send it right away. [laughter] did you get your nap? [laughter] >> guest: it's true.
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it's absolutely true. the very, very sad thing is that mrs. lincoln ended up on very bad terms with can the kennedy family because there came a time when she tried to sell some of her keepsakes, things that she had collected, and jacqueline kennedy was very, very angry about that. jacqueline kennedy did a lot to create the myth of camelot, and anybody that got in the way of that myth incurred the wrath of the family. and i suppose the most outstanding example -- and it's the only example i can think of an authorized and an unauthorized biography -- was william manchester who wrote "death of the president. " and it is one of the best books i've ever read. it is the biography of one day,
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november 22nd, 1963. and manchester, who was a magisterial writer, had written an adoring profile of john f. ken birdie, so mrs.-- kennedy, so mrs. kennedy went to him and asked him to write about the president's death. and she opened up all of the friends, all of the family, everybody to give him interviews. he was paid $40,000 advance, and he gave that to the kennedy library. and he said that he would give all the royalties from the book to the kennedy library. when he published the book or he got it ready for publication, and jackie couldn't read it, and the attorney general didn't want to read it. it was too raw, so they had their aides read it, and they objected to several things in it. and they a got into a real tussle.
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and jacqueline kennedy did not want certain b things published like -- certain things published like at that time no one realized that she was a heavy smoker. when she was coming back on air force one with the president's body, apparently, she looked in the mirror, and she saw wrinkles, and she said how old she was getting. she had told this to manchester. she'd given him ten hours of interviews. she didn't want any of that in the book. he took some of it out, but he kept a lot in. but anyway, she said if you don't do everything i say, i'm going to sue you. and manchester, who was a marine with a purple star from world war ii, adored her and adored the president and felt that he had done b a really good job, so he wouldn't agree. anyway, she filed an injunction. and minutes before the trial was
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to begin, she backed off because at that time robert kennedy was getting ready to run for the senate from new york. when i wrote "jackie o.," i wrote to william manchester because i wanted to know how much royalties the book had earned given to the kennedy library. now, mrs. kennedy was furious that the sellerrization rights had been sold for something like $700,000, and she said the writer and the publisher should not profit from this book. and the publisher felt they'd put in a lot, and manchester felt that he'd put in a lot, and they felt that they were entitled to that split. he wrote me and said at that time ask that book was -- and that book was written in 1978 --
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$1.1 million in royalties had gone to the kennedy library. and i recently wrote to ask what the royalties were, and i couldn't get an answer. but that's, that's the price you pay for an authorized biography. and yet you couldn't write about that day without her opening all of those people to talk about it. >> host: a few minutes left with our guest, kitty kelley. larry in spokane, washington, hometown of kitty kelley, please, go ahead. >> caller: hey. quick question. do you have any outstanding memories of tom foley? there have just been two memorials, and it would be interesting to have your take on it. >> guest: oh, i do.
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i attended the memorial here in statuary hall. it was a proud moment for spokane, washington. it was wonderful. in statuary hall president clinton and president obama, vice president biden, vice president mondale were there. the speaker of the house, john boehner, spoke. mitch mcconnell spoke. jim mcdermott, congressman from seattle, spoke very movingly. it was a wonderful service. i loved tom foley and was proud of everything he did for our district in spokane. i love his wife, heather. they've been very, very close friends of mine. it was a wonderful ceremony. it honored him as a man of integrity, a man from our very small town of spokane who grew
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up to become an important figure on the international stage. it was wonderful. really wonderful. >> host: next call for kitty kelley, terry in brooklyn, new york. hello. >> caller: big fan of booktv. this truly has been the greatest "in depth" i've ever seen. you guys could easily do another three hours. ms. kelley, my wife thinks your neck piece is very, very beautiful. [laughter] >> host: what have you enjoyed, terry? have you read any of kitty kelley's work in. >> guest: got all her books. the sinatra book is the greatest book i've ever read, one of the most fascinating. ms. kelley, have you read the george jacobs sinatra book? >> guest: yes. and i interviewed george jacobs at length for my book.
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yes, i did read his book. it's hysterically funny -- >> caller: i'm sorry. please, talk peter into having him on? [laughter] >> guest: george jacobs was the valet to sinatra, and he traveled with sinatra. he used to sign for sinatra. he was a very funny man. i'm afraid now that he's, i'm afraid he's kind of slipped into dementia. but he was a wonderful source. and, yes, i did read his book. it was very good. you know, i told you that sometimes you turn down -- you're turned down for interviews, and i had tried to get an interview with this woman, nancy gunderson, who was not only a romance of sinatra's,
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but then became a friend of his. so she really would be someone to interview, and she wouldn't, she wouldn't give me an interview. and two years ago i was out in the desert in palm brings with my husband -- palm springs with my husband and gave a speech someplace. this woman came up to me afterwards and she said, quote: do you want that interview now? and i thought, maybe she's -- what's she talking about? and she said, no, i'm serious, do you want the interview? and i looked at this very attractive woman, and i said i don't quite understand. and she said, nancy gunderson? i said, you've got to be kidding me. and we had lunch, and we became friends. and i said i would really
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like -- i know it's way past the sinatra book, but i'd like to write a piece on you. and how this came about. and your recollection of sinatra. and why you didn't marry him can can -- and how. and she said, fine. so 0 or 40 years -- 30 or 40 years after you write a book, you never know what'll come your way. >> host: well, as our caller, terry, probably knows we don't do much on celebrities. we're politics and nonfiction, history, public policy, but we did manage to work in a little frank sinatra. the one person we haven't worked in yet is liz taylor. could you very quickly assess your opinion of liz taylor after writing this book? >> guest: it was my least favorite book. i thought it's all husbands, jewelry stores and hospitals. and that's unfair.
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the politics part of the book is fascinating because she was a liberal democrat x -- and she married john warner. and she really helped get john warner elected. and i think most people thought that he wasn't the most impressive when he went to the senate, but he became impressive. and worked very, very hard. she was bored to tears, she hated washington. he was paying no attention to her. he worked around the clock. so the political side of the liz taylor book is interesting. but it was my least favorite book. >> host: because of the topic? >> guest: well, it shouldn't have been -- >> host: because of who she is or because of what you found? >> guest: i don't know. peter, and i'll tell you when i
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wrote this book, i had access to all the legal files at mgm, and they were fabulous files on every movie, who did what, directors and producers and co-stars. and she really was the last star of the studio system that doesn't exist anymore. and for that reason i chose her because she impacted our social culture so much. but i wasn't, i wasn't drawn in. and after that i knew that i wouldn't write about hollywood again. >> host: did you have a favorite of all the books you've written? >> guest: well, every book that you finish is your favorite. it really is. every book you finish, because you just think i'll never get
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through this, i'll never -- getting the interviews is tough. doing the research is tough. the writing is excruciating. so my favorite part is writing the acknowledgments. so i'd say i love doing all of the books with the possible exception of that one. >> host: agnes, jacksonville, oregon. hello. >> caller: ing hello. i'm very happy to hear about st. st. katherine, may she be of hope someday. [laughter]
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anyway, you talked about the kitchen cabinet, and i was in the bay area, i believe it was representative mccloskey who was a republican, and waiting in his outer office when i was reading this huge picture that was draped up on the wall, and it had all the members of the kitchen cabinet. and i realized as i started laughing out loud nobody in the republican's office had read everything. that name --
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[inaudible] contractor connected with the nsa, national security. and -- >> host: okay, agnes, i apologize. we've seen -- she's got a lot of connections here, kitty kelley. >> guest: i don't know how to put them all together. i thought she was going to say that she saw this photograph, and they were all white men. and i was ready -- but i don't know quite where she was going with this. but the connection to the nsa brings us back to what the man asked -- >> host: perhaps the power in this town and where does it reside? >> guest: well, it certainly resides here. this is the capital of the country, and the power resides with the supreme court and with congress. and be then with the president. >> host: amy, portland, oregon.
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when ms.-- i'm just going to read it verbatim -- when ms. kelley leaves this world, what will happen to all of her interview and video recording? >> guest: amy, i do have them all. i do have them all, and i've saved them because you never know -- i did it in the beginning to document all my work for lawyers. i don't know what'll happen to it. >> host: you haven't decided? >> guest: no. and when i inherited the archive of stanley's photographs, people said why don't you donate it, donate it to a library. and i said, no, it'll get lost. it'll never be shown. i mean, library of congress has got vast, vast materials that never get shown, and i was
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determined -- stanley had trusted me enough with his work, and i felt that i should share it. and i really felt strongly i should not profit from it. so that's why the "capturing camelot" book will go to the d.c. public libraries. i've already paid royalties to them, and please buy "let freedom ring" so i can pay royalties to the children's defense fund. so those photographs i haven't donated, i've kept, and they're online for people at -- can i give the web site? >> host: absolutely. >> guest: , >> guest: , www.stanleytretick.com. >> host: and if people want to contact you after this interview? >> guest: they'd better call you. [laughter] oh, i'd love to hear there them. >> host: do you have a web site?
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>> guest: oh, i do, thank you. [laughter] say good night, gracie. it's kittykelleywriter.com. it's kelley, fancy irish, writer.com. >> host: kitty kelley has been our guest for the last three hours. jackie o was her first book in 1978 followed by her least favorite, elizabeth taylor: the last star, '81. his way: the unauthorized biography of frank sinatra, 1987. nancy reagan: the unauthorized biography, 1992. the royals, '97. oprah: a biography, 2010. and her most recent picture books, "capturing camelot," and "let freedom ring: stanley tretick's images of the march on
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washington." kittykelleywriter.com is the web site. this is booktv on c-span2. thank you for being with us the last three hours. >> guest: thank you. >> c-span, created by america's cable companies in 1979, brought to you as a public service by your television provider. >> mark lee gardener recalls the life of outlaw jesse james next on booktv. mr. gardener recounts the infamous james-younger-gains robbery of the first national bank of northfield, minnesota, on september 7, 1876, and the two week manhunt that followed. this is an hour and ten minutes.